Artisanal production, advanced planning: the success of Manifattura Berluti

APS (Advanced Planning and Scheduling), Consumer Goods Sector

Manifattura Berluti, a world reference in the artisanal production of footwear and leather goods and part of the Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy group, has chosen to modernise the tools available to the production planning department. The results? Strong reduction in planning times and improvements in the quality of work of planners, in company performance and in communication both inside and outside the company.

The story of this virtuous project is told from three different perspectives, those of Pietro Colli – IS/IT Manager, Aurélien Courtoux – Planning Manager and finally Timothée Méjane – Production Planner.


Why change the way you plan production?

For the Ferrara-based company, the need to improve the planning department arose from the need for greater flexibility and to adapt to a constantly changing market, which increasingly demands seasonal innovations.

The high frequency in the new collections requires the company to continuously update forecasts and to provide the market with new products quickly. Often, then, the production times of the latter are only partially known, precisely because of the innovations introduced. This aspect makes it very difficult to plan orders accurately and punctually and involves the need to update all the work plans of the various stages of the production chain with extreme regularity.

This need for regularity in planning the various production departments implied a greater workload for the planning department. Having found themselves planning on Excel sheets, the department’s resources were often entirely absorbed by low-value operations.

Excel as a tool did not give visibility on delivery dates and led the company to focus on keeping productivity high. However, focusing on productivity often risked compromising the level of service. The main corporate objective was therefore to be able to keep both these performance indicators high, without giving up one of the two.


Innovating complex production

The production of Manifattura Berluti can be defined as a complex production. In fact, it is characterised by a high level of craftsmanship and a collection that is renewed, albeit in part, every six months. If a certain part of the product portfolio is continuous, another part of it is updated and modified depending on the collection. This means that these products are partially unknown in terms of production lead times, in addition to the fact that some components are often specific to a single product. To this we must also add the variability given by the human element, which produces more irregularly than a machine.

The adoption of Advanced Planning and Scheduling software has therefore emerged as an ideal solution to manage this complexity, updating production plans daily, with new data and parameters on new products, freeing planners from repetitive operations and complex calculations.

Given the scope of the project, the world leader in the luxury sector has requested a software selection among different suppliers. The parameters of choice were mainly the coverage of the requirements of Manifattura Berluti, the quality demonstrated during the software selection phase and the feedback of the companies that already use these systems. The supplier chosen thanks to the fulfillment of these requirements was the company Cybertec with the famous CyberPlan software.

Manifattura Berluti - Programmazione Produzione - CyberPlan Cybertec (27) - Copia

A quick project, evolving a department in six months

The implementation of CyberPlan in Manifattura Berluti took place quickly and effectively, taking into account some particularities of the company due to the unique reality as well as a complex sector such as fashion.

A first peculiarity was the high level of craftsmanship that characterises the production of Manifattura Berluti. As suggested by the company name itself, Ferrara’s production is based on know-how and this aspect is reflected in a production capacity that is not always easy to define exactly. The finite capacity calculation implemented in Manifattura Berluti also took this element into account.

Another aspect that had to be taken into account was the division of the product range into two parts: one represented by permanent products and one by seasonal products, which are produced according to the current collection and therefore replaced every six months. If the former know lead times and production cycle, for the latter this information is not always known and immediately available.

Another peculiarity is represented by the orders sent by the parent company, which, however, are not necessarily the first to have to be produced and shipped. Sometimes orders from Paris are in advance, other times they arrive as a matter of urgency. This required flexibility on the part of the program, so that we could quickly change the production plan and evaluate the possible production scenarios.

Another difficulty in planning the production department is given by the fact that in some cases it is not yet known what will be produced in 2 or 3 months, a period that, however, must be planned in terms of both internal and external production capacities. In this regard, the forecasting tool (or forecast) offered by CyberPlan was extremely useful.

Finally, the part relating to the matter also required special attention, as some leathers or components are specific to a single product, which requires careful and precise planning to allow a correct meeting between materials. Without the latter, in fact, it is impossible for the craftsman to make the finished product; however, the implementation of the APS software has allowed Manifattura Berluti to have full control over the flow of materials as well.


Benefits after six months from go-live

The project had a total duration of 6 months and already after an equally short period the benefits recorded were remarkable. The revision of production planning processes and the adoption of the CyberPlan application have in fact allowed Manifattura Berluti to revolutionise the department, drawing benefits that cross the threshold of the office itself and also benefit colleagues and suppliers. All this just six months after the end of the project.


Increase in service level after a few months

After 6 months of the project and only 6 months after the go-live, the already excellent level of service has improved by 12%, and this has happened without affecting the level of productivity. This increase in the punctuality of deliveries was also appreciated by the French parent company, as well as the timeliness obtained in the communication of updates regarding the delivery forecasts. The ability to predict scenarios for ongoing and seasonal collections has also been an important improvement for Manifattura Berluti.

One of the tools that we didn’t have before in our planning, but now thanks to CyberPlan we can use, is that of forecasting. This forecasting tool gives us a huge advantage over before.” Timothée Méjane – Production Planner


Strong reduction in planning times and higher plan quality

Manifattura Berluti has managed to revolutionise the work of the planning department. The time freed up in the planning office was perhaps the biggest success: instead of needing the work on Excel from different planners for an entire week, now a single person in an afternoon can create several simulated scenarios, find the best one and share it with everyone. This leaves much more time for planners for high value-added activities, to resolve any critical issues, to talk to contractors, to talk to the purchasing department, and so on.

Before CyberPlan, in fact, the planning team worked on separate phases of the flow and therefore lacked a shared planning: there were those who dealt with the first part, who with the central part and who with the part concerning shipments. This was done at different times and based on different data.

Now we all think on the same, unique and shared level, because the scheduling tool allows us to immediately see the impact of a choice, not only on a small part of the plan that concerns it, but on the entire production plan.” Timothée Méjane – Production Planner

Reliability of the production plan

Another fundamental advantage offered by the CyberPlan project and software is that today planning takes into account all the parameters that affect production planning: department capacity, availability of materials and components, prioritisation, etc. There are many parameters that are taken into account when planning is carried out (the lead time of each phase, the arrival of the material, the production capacity of each supplier), all of which lightens the breadmaker who used to use Excel on unhelpful aspects, which are now defined automatically. Now that everything is parameterized well, the planner can trust the plan produced by CyberPlan and focus on the particularities of it, in order to solve them.

The planner gains a lot because instead of seeing the problems when they happen, he sees them coming in advance and can find solutions, something that before he had neither the way nor the time to do.

Now you can quickly trace the causes of production times and change the plan according to priorities. Before, with many Excel files and with different planners, it was difficult to understand certain situations” Pietro Colli – IS/IT Manager


Communicate better between planning, purchasing and suppliers but also with management

The adoption of CyberPlan software has also led to improvements in terms of communications, both outside and inside the company.

Specifically, communication with the purchasing department has improved, which today is provided with a needs plan with certain and shared target dates, useful for obtaining raw materials on time.

CyberPlan, through the planning of finished orders, also provides the planning of the arrival of the material and therefore this aspect allows us to communicate better with the purchasing department.” Aurelien Courtoux – Planning Manager

There have also been improvements with regard to external processing, suppliers receive updated and accurate production plans, which prevent errors and delays in deliveries. Finally, today it is easier for planning to report and explain performance to management, as you have full control of what has happened, what is happening and what will be produced.

Manifattura Berluti - Programmazione Produzione - CyberPlan Cybertec (19) - Copia

People, the basis of Manifattura Berluti’s success

CyberPlan is the APS software that supports Manifattura Berluti in improving its production performance by supporting its planning processes. But the real key to this success are the people who with foresight and innovation have sought and pursued the improvement of their processes.

A management that with insight has equipped its company with tools for many still little known but strategic to compete in a complex market such as fashion. And people like Colli, Méjane and Courtoux who have made a fundamental contribution to bringing an innovative revolution to a highly artisanal company in just six months.

Manifattura Berluti, excellence in men’s footwear

Manifattura Berluti is an Italian company wholly owned by Berluti; the house is part of the world’s leading luxury group LVMH, together with 70 other brands united by tradition and prestige. Manifattura Berluti is based in Ferrara, where 250 employees are involved in the development and production of footwear and leather goods for men.

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